Full House: Communal Living On the Rise
When I was in college, everyone was always in a rush to find 3 or 4 housemates to room with for the duration of the semester. Students were so excited in having their own place away from parents and living with a group of random or close friends. As the semester wore on, housemates often formed a close connection, and sometimes referring to each other as their support group or family.
These days, due to the tough housing market many people are turning towards house shares or participating in what have come to be called urban commune.
Communal living is a "voluntary sharing of a way of life by a small group of people who believe that they can live better together than they can alone." Often the commitment goes further to include shared values like vegetarianism or a spiritual practice. As Bob mentioned in his post today, life can be enriched by participating in group activities, learning new things, and sharing joys and sorrows with other people who share your values. Duane Elgin, author of the book "Voluntary Simplicity," claims communal living helps people place less thought on monetary issues and more time focusing on what really matters in life such as strengthening relationships and performing community service activities: "As a result, they are richer individuals," he says in a Washington Times article about communal living.
In my experience,difficulties can arise when living with 4 or more people in one house. Paying rent, designating chores, and other tasks all require cooperation. However, people can learn to compromise and develop a bond that provides more support than they would find living alone. Group living tends to use fewer resources than living alone.
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